Compare Student Loan Refinance

Learn how our experts identify and compare the essential factors of student loan refinance to find the best option for you. From savings and qualifications to additional fees and application process, we research everything you need to know to make a decision.
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How we Compare Student Loan Refinance

Savings - 30%
Qualifications - 25%
Loan Limits/Terms - 15%
Customer Service - 10%
Additional Fees - 10%
Application Process - 10%

Savings Compared

This is obviously the most important thing to you if you are considering a student loan refi, you're doing it to save money, to lower your interest rate and restructure that monthly payment into something more manageable. (Although it is possible you could refinance to shorten the term with higher monthly payments in order to pay off the loan quicker, but the end result is still ultimately savings.) Here we look at the average savings a given entity gives their clients.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Savings:  SoFi SavingsEarnest Savings

Qualifications Compared

So now you have a ballpark idea about what the competing institutions are offering in the way of savings, and you're eager to lower that monthly payment ASAP. Invariably the next question is "do I qualify?" Let's take a look at how easy it will be for you to get this loan. Different companies have different qualifications of differing degrees of austerity. Your credit, income, savings, degree type, enrollment status, and type of original loan (federal vs. private) can all factor in. Those lenders with easier qualification criteria and fewer restrictions will score higher in this area.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Qualifications:  DocuPop QualificationsEarnest QualificationsLendKey Qualifications
EarnestSoFiCredibleLendKeyDarien Rowayton BankCommonBondLendingTreeDocuPopWells FargoSallie Mae
At least 18 years old
US Citizen
Title IV Accredited School
No FICO Minimum
Proof of Employment
Tax Documents
Recent Loan Statement
Proof of Residence

Loan Limits/Terms Compared

How much can you borrow? Since you are most likely trying to get the entirety of your student loan debt under control (perhaps from multiple loans), if you can't cover it all what's the point? Lenders offer different loan ceilings. Those that offer higher, less restrictive amounts will score better in this area.
You probably took your initial student loan with the grim acceptance you'd be paying it off for the rest of your natural born life. Now that you are refinancing, will it still be the same arrangement? Refinancing entities offer different term lengths with pros and cons to each. Longer terms translate to lower monthly payments but have higher interest payments and are more expensive in the long run. Short term loans on the other hand typically have lower interest rates. More loan term options combined with interest rate types (fixed, variable, hybrid) gives borrowers more flexibility. Lenders who offer the greatest flexibility in loan terms that create the most savings will score high in this area.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Loan Limits/Terms:  SoFi Loan Limits/TermsCredible Loan Limits/TermsDocuPop Loan Limits/Terms
EarnestSoFiCredibleLendKeyDarien Rowayton BankCommonBondLendingTreeDocuPopWells FargoSallie Mae
Undergraduate SchoolNo LimitsNo Limits$350,000$125,000No Limits$500,000No Limits$12,500$120,000No Limits
Graduate SchoolNo LimitsNo Limits$350,000$300,000No Limits$500,000No Limits$20,500$180,000No Limits
Minimum Balance$5,000$5,000$5,000$5,000Varies$5,000
Loan Terms5,10,15,20 Years5,7,10,15,20 YearsUp to 25 Years5,7,10,15,20 Years5,7,10,15,20 Years5,10,15,20 YearsUp to 20 YearsFrom 10-30 Years15 Years15 Years
Fixed RatesStarts at 3.50%Starts at 3.50%Starts at 3.74%Starts at 3.25%Starts at 4.20%Starts at 3.50%Starts at 3.50%Not StatedStarts at 6.24%Starts at 2.25%
Variable RatesStarts at 2.20%Starts at 2.20%Starts at 2.10%Starts at 2.20%Starts at 3.64%Starts at 2.20%Starts at 2.22%Not StatedStarts at 3.74%Starts at 5.74%

Customer Service Compared

Customer support can be offered a number of ways, including email support, live chat, and a customer service phone line potentially. We prefer companies who allow customers to speak to a live representative. There is a lot to consider when refinancing your student debt, and committing to a loan can be intimidating. Having the ability to speak to someone is a big plus, especially when your personal information and large sums of money are in play.

No matter what kind of customer support options the provider has, make sure you are comfortable with the method of communication they emphasize. That way, if there are problems or you have questions about anything, you want to know the company is available to help in a way that suits your personal preference.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Customer Service:  SoFi Customer ServiceCredible Customer ServiceLendKey Customer Service

Additional Fees Compared

At the end of the day the main priority here is to save money that you're shelling out monthly on a student loan. Lending institutions have to be up front on any additional fees they are going to hit you with. Organizations with excessive, unfair, or hidden fees do not score well in this area. It's quite reasonable to expect late payment, missed payment or returned check/failed transfer fee, but maybe not so reasonable for the institution to penalize you for paying off your balance early. Also read the fine print. A flat fee of $15 can be an entirely different thing than a percentage of the unpaid amount or overall debt. Many institutions charge an "origination fee" up front which is a percentage of the overall loan. What's more, they will often deduct this percentage from the actual disbursement so you end up getting an amount less than what you were approved for. (For example you took out a $60,000 student loan refi with a 1% origination fee. Banks with this policy will cut you a check for $59,400.)  Those with no origination fees will score higher than those with. Also, lenders with high origination fees or origination fees deducted from the loan will score the lowest.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Additional Fees:  Credible Additional FeesLendingTree Additional FeesLendKey Additional Fees
EarnestSoFiCredibleLendKeyDarien Rowayton BankCommonBondLendingTreeDocuPopWells FargoSallie Mae
No Origination Fee
No Prepayment Penalities
No Application Fee

Application Process Compared

This is all about convenience, how quickly and painlessly the institution makes a decision and gets you your cash. How long will it take to get a quote? How long does it take them to decide? How and when will you receive the funds so you can get to the main priority of saving money? Typically, lenders will require you to submit personal information. This application information often includes your name, Social Security number, government-issued identification, home address, phone number, email address, checking account information, and possibly more. The quicker and easier we deem the application process, the better a given score.

Student Loan Refinance with the Best Application Process:  Credible Application ProcessDocuPop Application ProcessLendingTree Application Process
EarnestSoFiCredibleLendKeyDarien Rowayton BankCommonBondLendingTreeDocuPopWells FargoSallie Mae
Instant Quotation
Loan Refinance Specialist

Full Student Loan Refinance Comparison

SavingsQualificationsLoan Limits/TermsCustomer ServiceAdditional FeesApplication Process
Earnest Student Loan Refinance10.010.010.09.09.89.0
SoFi Student Loan Refinance10.08.510.010.09.79.0
Credible Student Loan Refinance9.09.010.09.510.010.0
LendKey Student Loan Refinance9.59.58.59.510.09.5
Darien Rowayton Bank Student Loan Refinance9.58.59.08.09.58.5
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance9.58.59.08.09.08.5
LendingTree Student Loan Refinance7.08.010.08.010.010.0
DocuPop Student Loan Refinance6.010.010.09.05.010.0
Discover Student Loan Refinance8.08.08.08.08.08.0
Wells Fargo Student Loan Refinance7.07.06.07.07.08.0
Sallie Mae Student Loan Refinance8.07.07.05.07.05.0
Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinance7.07.06.56.07.07.0
iHELP Student Loan Refinance6.06.06.04.06.07.0
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Latest Reviews

R
Ruchi Patel
Piscataway, New Jersey
11/28/2016
I refinanced a federal Parent PLUS loan using CommonBond and changed ownership from my mother to myself. Changing loan ownership from parent to student is an option that few competitors provide. I had been making the paymetns on the loan anyway, but the federal rate was very high at 7.9%. With my excellent credit score of over 800, I was able to get it cut in half with a variable rate loan with CommonBond. I loved having the different repayment option combinations (rate, fixed vs variable vs hybrid, term) easily visible on a single screen during the application. The application process was a bit more complicated than it initially had seemed and took longer than anticipated (took over a month to finalize), but it was well worth it in the end. I believe the hold up to have been from the underwriters, but the CommondBond customer service reps always did whatever they could. CommonBond partners with Firstmark Services as the servicer of the loan. CommonBond also provides great networking and learning opportunities as an added bonus.

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